'Paramodel Solo Exhibition: The World According to P'

by Matthew Larking

Mori Yu Gallery, Kyoto

Closes Aug. 28

Following on from the large-scale June-July retrospective “The World According to Paramodel” at the Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya, Kyoto’s Mori Yu Gallery has mounted a complementary show of recent Paramodel works in the solo exhibition: “The World According to P.”

Artistic duo Yasuhiko Hayashi (b. 1971) and Yusuke Nakano (b. 1976) are widely known for their “paramodelic” graffiti — their use of distinctively blue Tomy Plarail toy-train tracks to create fantastic fluid geometries of lines that course across floors, up walls and along ceilings, which, when viewed from a distance, take on the quality of drawings.

Their new work, however, is a variation on the earlier pieces. It relinquishes rail tracks for a light attached to the top of a radio-controlled car. The movements of the vehicle are burned into images taken by a camera using long exposures, so the pictorial result reveals skeins of phosphorescent light that circulate through industrial spaces such as warehouses or beneath highways.

The shift to industrial spaces is related to the East Osaka upbringings of both artists. Surrounded by small manufacturing businesses and constant construction work, the duo’s own artistic concerns resonate palpably in their assemblage approach of their pipe and rail installations, the ever-present imagery of cranes at work and housing structures piled one atop another.

More familiar work situated at back of the gallery concerns their “Gokuraku” (“Paradise”) series of Tomy toy trucks, which carry loads of fruit, sashimi and yakitori. The unrealistic fare is served up to eager guests in restaurants or at street stalls and captured in large-scale photographs.

The Paramodel world is an unpressured one, free from high-seriousness and pretension. It revels in play and infinite variations upon established themes and stylistic preoccupations so much so, that their oeuvre, the artists say, is a never-ending construction site.

Mori Yu Gallery, Kyoto, is open 12 p.m.-7 p.m., closed Aug 15-23. Admission free. For more information, visit